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I would like to welcome the President of Chile, Mr. Sebastián Piñera, on his first visit to the EU institutions.
The President’s visit has been a good opportunity to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Chile. We are both convinced that it has been a key instrument in building an ever-closer partnership based on shared values and aspirations. The Agreement has helped to advance our relationship in the political and economic spheres.
Chile is a solid democracy and a member of the OECD moving towards a full "developed economy" status by 2020. I commended President Piñera for his efforts to foster economic growth and root out poverty in Chile. I highlighted the important contribution of trade with the EU, the biggest market in the world, and the vital role of investment as an engine for sustainable growth.
I also expressed our appreciation for Chile's important contribution of troops to the European Union Force ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this second decade of the Association Agreement, we should extend our cooperation to foster peace and democracy elsewhere in the world. We look forward to having a Framework Agreement that will enable Chile to join the EU in future operations.
I have also commended Chile’s role at regional level. Chile will host in Santiago on 26 and 27 January 2013 the forthcoming EU-CELAC Summit. We noted the particular pertinence of the topic: “Alliance for Sustainable Development: Promoting Investments of Social and Environmental Quality.” We discussed the preparations which are advancing well, thanks to the excellent work of the Chilean Chair. The EU and Chile are working together to ensure a successful event, and I look forward to attending the Summit, alongside President Barroso.
The Summit will be the occasion to welcome the progress achieved in our bi-regional relations since the last summit in 2010 in Madrid. We are also working towards the entry into force of the Colombia/Peru Trade Agreement, the Association Agreement with Central America, a new strategic framework for the Caribbean, and a reinforced Action Plan for the period 2013-2015 that would include new activities in the areas of security and gender.
We also exchanged views on prospects for regional integration in Latin America and relations between our two continents. Chile is a key contributor to other initiatives that are building greater political and economic integration. We both underlined our support for further regional integration and for strengthening the partnership between the EU and Latin America.
I look forward to further discussions with President Piñera next January at the Summit. Thank you for your visit to Brussels, Mr President.